Short-term mission trips (short trips), Church teams, school teams, young adult teams – every year, thousands of teams of Christians travel to foreign nations in the hope experiencing God’s mission and making a difference in the lives of those they visit. There are some very good short-term mission experiences and there are teams which seem to be little more than gloried Christian holidays.
So, what is the difference? What makes a great Short-term experience?
A great short-term missional experience begins long before the aeroplane takes off, International Mission Ministries (IMM) has almost 30 years of experience in taking teams to missional locations, so here are some tried and true principles which make for a GREAT short-term missions experience:
1. When you respond to God in FAITH.
- Hearing from God as He directs you to go takes faith.
- Following through and committing finances and time to move with God takes faith.
- Trusting the Holy Spirit within you to be the person you were recreated to be – an ambassador and a representative of Jesus doing what Jesus would do if he were in your shoes.
A great trip should stretch you in faith – not the paddling in the shallows type faith but real pushing out into the deep type of faith where you know you are dependent upon God alone.
2. When you hear from God and it CHANGES your life perspectives…
A great short trip should facilitate you passionately pursuing a deeper understanding of God to grow in faith and missions. The most important thing on any short trip is that God himself has access to speak to you personally about…
- Who He is, I.E. A God who LOVES you and every other man, woman, boy and girl on the planet.
- The things which are important to Him, people are important to God.
- How you can respond to Him, pursuing and enabling the Holy Spirit within you to live out.
A great trip should take you deeper with God and change your life perspective about God, yourself and the people you are visiting.
3. When you take this experience into your FUTURE life.
Will your trip be impacting your life in 10, 20 or even 30 years from now? This is the real test… will you carry something from this short trip into the rest of your life? Donna and I (Ross) led our first short trip to Indonesia in 1989, what a joy to know that trip impacted almost every person who came. Today, 28 years later we are still doing missions with some of those team members – Janelle and David Payne were on that trip and are still in partnership with us in mission today – Janelle is IMM’s administrator.
A great short trip affects how you live your life for the rest of your days on earth.
Each of these principles are integral to the team’s IMM facilitate, so make your short trip count for eternity – life is too short…